Fair warning: this post contains part of my heart. I’ve been spending a lot of time lately doing editorial work to help publicize “all Hands On Deck”, an all-volunteer, non-partisan event on July 3 at 10 a.m. It will link hands and boats along Great Lakes shores in 6 states and Canada, at sites in more than 45 communities, where people will come together to raise awareness of the need to protect the Great Lakes.
I got involved in All Hands on Deck because I can’t remember my life – can’t imagine my life – without the Great Lakes at the heart of it. My great-great-great grandparents homesteaded a stretch of the Lake Michigan shore in what is now Casco Twp. My great-great grandfather worked as a shipbuilder in the shipyards at south Haven. I was born within a half-mile of the “Big Lake” and lived within a couple miles of it until I went to college.
Growing up, I camped with my family in many places on the Lake Michigan and Lake Superior Shores. To this day, the view of Lake Michigan from the overlooking bluffs at West Side Park is the view that tells me, “your home.”
The Great Lakes don’t need me or anyone else to put them on the map – they’re already an unmistakable feature of the North American continent, visible from space, defining a watershed that is home to 30 million people – but they do need help to raise awareness of the need to protect them. I want to do what I can to make the wellbeing of the Great Lakes a top-of-mind issue for people who live here, for business owners, for community leaders, for legislators and policymakers, for visitors and vacationers.
I want everyone to understand that sustaining the world’s largest surface freshwater resource makes good sense for all of us! I got involved in All Hands On Deck because it’s one thing, an important thing, I can do for the “Big Lake” of my childhood, and for all her sisters.